This is pain as well, but it’s sharp, vivid; a momentary relief. Everything else fades to a buzz in the back of my head as I deal with the coppery tang, the wet slickness. I know, like I know this isn’t helping, (that nothing helps,) that the guilt will come soon, rising through me like sickness, but for now I feel a surge of control, purer than pleasure.

This is mine, everything I’ve caused. Even the tears blotching my face I have made happen. I survey the shallow wounds, leaking slow pulses of my own self. I know this isn’t pride, I cannot hold my head up high as so many have said to do, it is a desperation so fierce that I must cling on fast or be swept away in my own helplessness. I have caused all this; it is my fault, I am wretched, and I can’t stop.

On reflex I swallow, I’m so weak I can’t even handle this. Clumsily, I apply plasters and balance on the edge (of everything) of the bath, rinsing my arms, watching the water wash away all trace.

Maybe I am also so easily washed away.

It looks so easy.

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